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DayZ is busted and janky, and its creator knows it.
The zombie-survival game is available to purchase now in its prerelease state for $30 on Steam’s Early Access platform, but Dean Hall — creator of DayZ — is telling everyone he can not to buy it. He thinks people should wait while he and his team at developer Bohemia Interactive fix the bugs and start adding new features. That warning hasn’t stopped over 1 million people from purchasing the title since it went on sale Dec. 16.
That prompted Hall to address the idea of Early Access games. Steam introduced its Early Access platform last year, which enables developers to sell unfinished games to consumers who want to play something before it is fully ready.
“I think [Early Access] is powerfully changing the way we create games,” Hall wrote in response to a question on Reddit. “I think publishers are in danger of becoming irrelevant. This means gamers have the power to decide what games get made. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s now time for gamers to choose the games that get made with their wallets.”
This model of releasing games before they’re done — or in early “alpha” or “beta” stages as studios sometimes call it — came to prominence when Swedish developer Mojang released an early version of block-building game Minecraft in 2009 (a couple of years before its full release in 2011). Now, many of the top-selling games on Steam are from the Early Access portal.
For Hall, Early Access is part of the crowdfunding movement that is disrupting the way games get funded.
“People should see Early Access/Kickstarter as them being mini-investors,” he wrote. “Too many gamers are using Early Access as gambling: ‘I’ll buy [a game] in case it’s good’ — when they should be assessing the project on its merits and not simply being hopeful.”
As part of that, Hall and Bohemia continue to recommend that people not buy DayZ at this point. The designer says that he knows the game is riddled with bugs, and he wants to make it better before letting someone who is unsure waste their money on a half-baked project.
“I would strongly discourage you from buying the game right now,” Hall wrote to someone who said they were unsure. “I would recommend waiting a month and then critically reviewing some positive/negative reviews and deciding then.”
While DayZ costs $30 to purchase right now. That price will go up as Bohemia moves the game into its next phase of testing. It will likely see another price increase when it reaches its “final” retail state. People who buy the game now will get those updates at no additional charge.
Hall says the game will remain at $30 for at least the next month, so hesitant gamers can take their time in making a purchasing decision.